The ombudswoman for children’s rights Maia Bănărescu said the actions taken by the central and local authorities in relation to street children turned out to be inefficient and the most recent case of death of a young man, who recently turned 18, shows that the state failed to ensure the observance of the rights of street children. Maia Bănărescu demands that the authorities should urgently intervene as this problem should be discussed on the parliamentary, governmental and other types of platforms.
“I want to express my disagreement with such cases. I want to say that it is a condemnable situation and it is scandalous that the authorities could not solve the problem of street children for so long. This case shows that the authorities, the state failed to ensure the observance of the rights of street children,” Maia Bănărescu stated in a news conference at IPN.
She noted that during her four-year tenure she didn’t see serious actions taken by the authorities that would have changed the situation systemically. She can mention only a fragmentary action – the creation of the Street Assistance Service at the Chisinau Children’s Rights Protecting Division. The children can go there to have a shower, to change clothes, to have a meal and to take part in different activities. But the problem is that this is a day service and the children in the evening return to the street.
Maia Bănărescu said this service does not satisfy by far the needs of street children and more complex measures are needed in this regard, including the working out and improvement of the legal framework and the optimization of the local authorities’ activity, work with parents, etc.
According to the ombudswoman, this case of death of the street child is not the only one of the kind. “A question appears here, what else should happen in the Republic of Moldova? Are we waiting for more deaths for the authorities to realize how serious the situation is and to hear the voice of the ombudswoman who speaks about the gravity of this problem and about the fact that the children’s’ rights protection system does not have efficient mechanism, does not solve the problems of street children and does not ensure the observance of children’s rights,” noted Maia Bănărescu.
The children find themselves on the street when the parents fail to educate them. They leave home if there is violence there, if the parents drink alcohol and if they are not understood by the family members and try to find this understanding on the street. The children from socially-deprived families or those who are not supported in the community or at school can also abandon home.
The ombudswoman urged to organize debates on the parliamentary platform with the involvement of the expert commissions so as to improve the legal framework on the protection of children. Parliamentary control should be instituted on the child protection system, especially in the case of street children. The Prime Minister and the head of the National Council to the Protection of Children’s Rights should call an extraordinary meeting to discuss the problem of these children. Given the current pandemic, all the street children should be tested for the novel coronavirus.